Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Social Media Best Practices for 2010

As social media marketing matures, there’s a continuing stream of firms and non-profits that are doing significant things. I looked back over 2009 to find some of the ones I had characterized as “best practices.” If you look down the list, consumer products companies appear to be underrepresented. I’m not sure whether that’s a reflection of reality or just a reflection of what I pay attention to. Stay tuned for some additions to that list!

Legal Zoom applies consumer marketing techniques to legal services marketing and does so in a way that supports instead of devaluing devalue the professionalism of their offering. A lot of the posts to their Facebook page continue to promote their contest, but there’s a cool New Year’s Resolution app. They don’t appear to have a blog, so the posts are more than blog feeds and the they seem to have a number of employees involved. Worth the attention of non-lawyers!

Starbucks gets a lot of votes in best practices lists. I think the “Listens—and Acts” phrase pretty much sums it up. The My Starbucks Idea site is still going strong. A lot of the current ideas are about products; notice how many of them would make Starbucks greener.

Kraft is another skilled social media practitioner that might be seen as unlikely, since their products are sold through channels to consumers at retail. However, they’ve found ways to engage their customers and to reach them at the point of purchase with the iFoodAssitant iPhone app. Their social media efforts are well done, one reason being that they understand the needs of their customers.

One of my favorite social media initiatives is the Pickens Plan. I’ve written about it several times including a late 2008 post that describes their community monitoring efforts. You only have to look at all the activity on the site to understand how much effort it takes to start a community—even more, to keep it vibrant. Think also the Christmas card post from the Obama campaign office. When I finish this post, I’m going to replace the simple badge on this blog with one of the Plan’s interactive widgets. That’s the sort of community fuel that keeps it running (pun intended)!

Finally another of my favorites is the McKinsey Journal represented on the blog with the McKinsey marketing content widget on the sidebar. I find the widget useful; I hope readers do. Since I’ve written about their social efforts (and got an almost immediate comment—very social!), they have added a “What Matters” page. It’s a thought leaders page and not overly social, although it does appear to be built on a blogging platform. Perhaps more important to the McKinsey Journalit provides additional content that supports the McKinsey brand.

The most impressive thing about these five examples is that all of them are keeping up the momentum; most have added new activities since I wrote about them sometime in 2009. That's a sign of commitment to social media. It also reminds me of some rants I've read lately about it not being "social media campaigns" or "social media programs." Ok, how about social media initiatives? Just as long as there are measurement milestones!

If you search “best practices” on the blogger search bar you’ll get others, both recent and older. All are nourishing food for thought, and I have no doubt that 2010 will produce more!

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